PROTESTS took place outside Amazon's Dunfermline warehouse yesterday (Wednesday) morning over the treatment of workers and complaints about price-gouging at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unite, the union, say their research has uncovered compelling evidence of price-gouging, when businesses inflate the price of products or services that are in high-demand, throughout 2020, with 50 different items identified as being sold on the Amazon site for at least double their usual price from March 2020 to November 2020 onwards.

They include soap, antibacterial spray and wipes, washing up liquid, handwash, bleach, thermometers, face masks and toilet paper.

Unite has submitted the first formal complaint to the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) against Amazon for abuse of its market position in relation to price gouging but it's a claim that Amazon denies.

The company says they have worked with the CMA on this issue and have taken action by banning sellers from taking advantage.

Campaigners also raised awareness of, in their view, Amazon’s poor working conditions and anti-trade union tactics. The union is calling on Amazon to sign up to a declaration of neutrality, which includes commitments that recognise workers’ rights to unionise.

Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer for organising and leverage said: “Amazon is steeped in corporate irresponsibility, from its anti-union tactics to tax avoidance.

"Now Amazon stands accused of profiting from price-gouging on its website at the height of the pandemic when vulnerable people were most at need. It's time for Amazon to be held to account."

An Amazon spokesperson said: “There is no place for price-gouging on Amazon. We worked with the CMA more than a year ago to stop attempts by some sellers to take advantage of the global health crisis. Our action at the time was clear and decisive – we removed the offers referenced in this complaint and terminated seller accounts. We continue to monitor our store 24/7 to remove offers that violate our policies.”